I should start this post by saying I don’t know the answer to this question.
But I hope to gain a few nuggets of insight over the next week or so.
I’m off to Ghana next week for a few days, to look at some fair trade cocoa farms/villages, along with some journalists from the Times, BBC, and the Daily Mirror. The trip is being organised by Cadbury/Kraft.
I don’t often go on trips like this, where the company covers the costs, for a couple of reasons. But this trip seemed to be to be worth doing, for a few reasons as below.
I don’t know what I am going to write or commission as a result. We’ll see how it pans out.
Firstly, of course, it will be fascinating to see the impact of fair trade at a local level, and what it has done for rural communities in Ghana.
From my research in advance of the trip, Cadbury/Kraft has done some excellent work to help improve supply chain conditions in a difficult region. I’ll reserve further comment on this area until I’ve returned next week and spoken to some more experts.
Secondly, the trips should be an opportunity to find out a bit more about how cocoa companies are responding to the Harkin-Engel Protocol.
There’s action afoot in this area in the next weeks (more to come on that closer to the time) and I’m noticing companies in the cocoa space looking to get coverage of what they have done in the last nine years in response to the Harkin-Engel Protocol challenge.
Thirdly, and most importantly, what will be most fascinating is to hear and see, albeit in a very limited way (I’m only there a few days), how Ghana is responding to the sustainability challenges the country faces.
Particularly given that sustainability and ethics issues are increasingly inter-connected, I’l be interested to hear how/if that is being recognised by some of the major players.
The certification/ethical trade bodies, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, etc etc, are all under increasing pressure to begin working together, and with companies, more efficiently and to a greater scale. I’ll also be interested to find out more about how that might happen next week, and to report back.
If I can collect enough material, we might commission on of our country briefings on what’s happening over Ghana. Some of our other country briefings are here.
If any readers with views on what to look out for in Ghana around cocoa, or any other issues, have a view they’d like to share, I’d appreciate you getting in touch or posting a comment. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.